Monday, July 30, 2007
This was a fabulous trip for several reasons. We had lots of company (The Man’s brother, nephew and his girlfriend from Florida plus two friends from LA joined us). And of course the weather cooperated and we got to see some whales!
First thing we saw were several small pods of Long Beaked Common Dolphins. What fun, they came along and swam with the boat for a while.
The morning was rather gray and I was hoping it would burn off quickly. It was certainly not as dim as the previous trip, but still, as we got out to the prime Blue Whale zone, visibility at times wasn’t more than 500 yards.
We did come upon a pair of blue whales though and this time in addition to taking photos, I tried for a little video (mostly because I think that’s the only way you can get the scale of these creatures).
Later Captain Mat excited threw on the boat brakes to have a look at this. It’s a Basking Shark. The sharks themselves are probably rather common, but seeing them off of Santa Barbara and close to the surface like this is quite rare. The video isn’t that impressive, really, the distance between the dorsal fin and the waggling tail fin is probably 6-8 feet, so the shark is probably only about 12-16 feet. (They can grow to be 30 feet.)
Most importantly we saw the blue whales so clearly, following along with the first pair for quite a while.
I was very, very tired when we were done, but of course I want to do it again. No new species to add to my list of cetaceans, but the basking shark was certainly special.
During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.